The Philippines ran into a powerhouse Poland and suffered a heartbreaking 2.5-1.5 defeat Thursday, Feb. 2, to slip from a share of the lead to joint third after four rounds in the 1st FIDE Olympiad for People with Disabilities in Belgrade, Serbia.
Henry Lopez and playing team skipper James Infiesto succumbed to Marcin Molenda and Pawel Piekielny on boards two and three, respectively, that sealed the Filipinos’ doom.
FIDE Master Sander Severino drew with fellow world champion Grandmaster Marcin Tazbir in just 14 moves of a Queen’s Gambit on top board while Darry Bernardo survived a shock 51-move win over International Master Piotr Dukaczewski in 51 moves of a Caro Kann duel to salvage some measure of pride for the Filipino woodpushers.
The result sent the top-seeded Poles to the top with four wins and eight match points while sending the Filipinos, whose trip is bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission, down in a five-country group of six-pointers at No. 3.
Also in that pack were Israel, IPCA, Cuba and Uzbekistan.
India, which drew with Hungary, 2-2, was at solo second with seven points.
With two rounds to go, the Philippines will be in desperate need to at least sweep its remaining matches including its fifth and penultimate-round showdown with second seed Israel at press time.